L. Peat O'Neil

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L. Peat O'Neil (born 1949) is a travel writer and program analyst at the Office of eDiplomacy of the U.S. Department of State.[1] O'Neil writes content for Diplopedia and collaborates on other social media programs.[2]


O'Neil is best known for travel articles that appeared in The Washington Post from 1986 to 2003 as well as articles for other newspapers, magazines, websites and literary journals.[3] Publications featuring O'Neil's essays and articles include Travel + Leisure, Elle, Departures, Potomac Review,[4] National Geographic News[5][6][7] Toronto Star,[8][9] among others.

After teaching food writing at L'Academie de Cuisine, in Bethesda, near Washington, DC, O'Neil sought an interview with the doyenne of Mexican culinary history, Diana Kennedy and reported on organic farming in Mexico for Gastronomica.[10]

She is a long time book reviewer and contributor to Bloomsbury Review[11] During a career in the newsroom of the Washington Post, O'Neil wrote about travel, music, health, community events, and technology. One essay commenting on the pervasive use of the word "guys" as a form of address in the U.S., provoked letters to the editor of the newspaper and a subsequent discussion on Voice of America[12]

In search of adventure on the French GR 65 and Spanish footpaths of the Chemin de St-Jacques during 2001, O'Neil walked[13] alone through the Pyrenees Mountains from Hendaye on the Atlantic to Perpignan on the Mediterranean Sea. Pyrenees Pilgrimage, published in 2010, is an account of this journey.[14]

O'Neil started a solo travel career in secondary school, staying in youth hostels and building a global network of travel contacts. The author's travel writing career is discussed in an interview with blogger and writer Rolf Potts. Among other titles, O'Neil is the author of Travel Writing: See the World-Sell the Story[15] and a co-author of Making Waves.

"Travel Writing: A Guide to Research, Writing and Selling", is used by educators in undergraduate and graduate level programs. It has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Korean. Authors refer to O'Neil's techniques in their own books about how to be a journalist.[16][17][18]

Online educator[edit]

An early adapter in online education, O'Neil began teaching writing courses online in 1997 with the University of California, Los Angeles[19] and also developed online curricula for non-fiction writing courses offered at Graduate School USA in Washington, DC.

Other Adjunct Professor positions include web content management, online editing and writing in professional programs at GWU,[20] Georgetown[21] Smithsonian Resident Associates,[22] and Graduate School USA.[23] O'Neil presents at conferences[24] and moderates panels on journalism.[25]


During the 1980s she was media assistant to Pamela Harriman, Ambassador to France during the Clinton administration.

More colorful work includes: cutting and sewing sails and gear for racing yachts; hand-rolling cigars at a factory in Tampa; teaching motorcycle safety for Canada's Dept. of Transport; researching art for the Montreal Olympics sport art exhibition; pre-trial interviews of witnesses for industrial trademark infringement hearings; assisting a caterer in France; painting logos on the sides tractor-trailers; and ferrying automobiles for Avis between JFK/IAD/TPA.

Health activism issues[edit]

In 1979, O'Neil founded a small public interest research group, Woman Health International,[26] with a team of volunteer librarians.[27] The group's sole mission was to research the ingredients in tampons (a menstrual hygiene product) and to lobby the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include consumers on the medical device review panel, then composed entirely of industry officials or medical specialists working for the manufacturers.[28] The resulting paper was published in the Center for Science in the Public Interest journal. O'Neil contributed a case study about the recall of Rely tampons to the first edition (1983) of Case Studies in Business, Society, and Ethics, edited by Tom Beachamp.[29] When the Asbestos Compensation Committee formed in 1981 to support a bill by then United States Senator Gary Hart, primarily to represent the interests of trial attorneys and asbestos manufacturers,[30] O'Neil consulted with the committee to advocate for former asbestos workers with long term disabling diseases which involved meetings with physicians, insurers, compensation analysts and lawmakers.[31]

Appointed the lowest academic rank - Demonstrator - at the University of Toronto Department of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, during the 1970s O'Neil also managed research budgets for the Department in the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. She collaborated on a pioneering medical textbook, Prevention in Clinical Practice with Robert W. Morgan, M.D.[32]

After successfully defending herself against a serial rapist in Florida, O'Neil wrote about the experience for the anthology of women's self-defense reports "Her Wits About Her" published in 1987. Continuing interest in self-defense techniques prompted O'Neil to write about martial arts and to seek training in kickbox and Japanese archery.[33]

Early life[edit]

O'Neil grew up near Washington, DC on a modest family farm near Sandy Spring producing Christmas trees, eggs, honey and organic vegetables. O'Neil and family still keep bees. O'Neil's mother taught art and art history at Sandy Spring Friends School and during WWII served with [34] the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). A maternal aunt married WW II pilot Bolesaw Michal Gladych who was O'Neil's Godfather. O'Neil's maternal grandfather, Harold R. Peat was an author and lecturer. Her maternal grandmother, Louisa Watson Small Peat was an editor and author.[35]

O'Neil's father, William Martin O'Neil, was a Washington, DC architect who constructed topographic feature models used in Royal Air Force briefings in England. Other ancestors on the paternal side, are great-aunt Ethel O'Neil and her husband Robert Tait McKenzie, the Canadian physician and sculptor, the first professor of physical education[36] at the University of Pennsylvania.


O'Neil studied painting at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and with other artists, including Eliot O'Hara, who occasionally offered watercolor workshops in Maryland after his painting school burned. A lifelong philatelist, O'Neil is an active participant in global Mail artist. O'Neil participated in art collaboration projects such as Ryosuke Cohen's Brain Cell and G. A. Cavellini's archive. O'Neil's art works have appeared in painting exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts[37] and other venues.


  1. ^ Office of eDiplomacy
  2. ^ Major Programs of the Office of eDiplomacy
  3. ^ Rolfpotts.com
  4. ^ Issue 33 Table of Content
  5. ^ Bible-Era Artifacts Highlight Archaeology Controversy
  6. ^ Stone Age Cave Art, Artifacts Found in Borneo
  7. ^ Panama Canal Island a Paradise For Tropical Research
  8. ^ http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_product=AWNB&p_theme=aggregated5&p_action=doc&p_docid=10BA9A8EC4D1B808&p_docnum=1&p_queryname=1
  9. ^ http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_product=AWNB&p_theme=aggregated5&p_action=doc&p_docid=10BC8C75B4391460&p_docnum=2&p_queryname=2
  10. ^ O'Neil, L Peat (Winter 2006). "Organic in Mexico: A Conversation with Diana Kennedy". Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 6 (1): 25–34. doi:10.1525/gfc.2006.6.1.25. JSTOR http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.1525/gfc.2006.6.1.25?uid=1159720&uid=3739584&uid=2&uid=3&uid=67&uid=1159656&uid=62&uid=3739256&sid=21101477924381. 
  11. ^ ToC Nov Dec 2002.qxd
  12. ^ March 14, 1999 - 'Guys' - 2002-02-12 | Special English | Learning English
  13. ^ Madam Mayo: Guest-blogger L. Peat O'Neil: 5 + Links on Walking and Literature
  14. ^ Pyrenees Pilgrimage - Google Books
  15. ^ Foreign service journal - Google Books
  16. ^ Professional Feature Writing - Google Books
  17. ^ Methods for teaching travel ... - Google Books
  18. ^ Beginning writer's answer book - Google Books
  19. ^ UCLA Extension Instructor: L. Peat O'Neil
  20. ^ Publishing Master's Degree Program in Publishing School
  21. ^ [1],
  22. ^ The Smithsonian Associates - EDUCATING and ENTERTAINING AUDIENCES for more than 45 years
  23. ^ Graduate School - Search
  24. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20010511021917/www.english.upenn.edu/Travel99/Abstract/oneil.html
  25. ^ Washington Independent Writers - 2000 Spring Conference
  26. ^ Friedman, Nancy (1981). Everything You Must Know About Tampons. New York, New York: Berkley Book. pp. 96–99. ISBN 0-425-05140-4. 
  27. ^ Everything you must know about tampons - Google Books
  28. ^ ProQuest Login - ProQuest
  29. ^ Amazon.com: Case Studies in Business, Society, and Ethics (5th Edition) (9780130994356): Tom L. Beauchamp: Books
  30. ^ Paying Asbestos Damages - Nytimes.Com
  31. ^ Report of A Meeting of the Task Force on Economics of the Asbestos Disability Compensation Claims Panel
  32. ^ http://www.epidocllc.com/images/Dr_Morgan_CV.doc page 4
  33. ^ O'Neil, Peat (20 June 1993). "Defense Ministry". The Washington Post. 
  34. ^ photo reconnaissance BBC.co. Aerial Reconnaisance Gallery
  35. ^ ProQuest Login - ProQuest
  36. ^ R. Tait McKenzie. U Penn Current, 2007, March 15. Philadelphia, Pa. Access date: 2013 September 22.
  37. ^ CLARA

External links[edit]